Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb.” – John 20:11
I saw you there; sitting with a Kleenex in your hand, wiping the tears from your eyes. I saw you there, as a beautiful garden adorned the chancel, and the choir sang like angels, and fidgety children readied themselves for an Easter egg hunt. I saw you there; the sanctuary was filled, you were surrounded by people, and yet somehow alone.
The Christian world celebrated resurrection, but Easter seemed nebulous at best to you: sitting with grief, memories of bygone days failed to fill the void in your heart, salty tears moistened your cheeks.
I saw you there and I wanted to walk out, to walk out of the pulpit and sit with you: to pause the service, to stop speaking, to quiet the joyful noise, to grasp your shaking hand, to share the journey of grief with you. I see you. I see you each week, you attend every service; you are young or old, the one who walked with you is no more, your dreams lay wasted, your spirit is lonely, it was not supposed to be this way.
I see you each week. The faces rotate; the grief is not contagious, but it is unrelenting, it is an inescapable part of our humanity. Money offers us no protection; our faithfulness cannot overcome this fragile reality. Jesus wept, Mary wept, Judas wept with noose in hand. Peter was broken by his own betrayal. If we love, if we are loved, we weep.
I saw you there, sitting in grief. Sitting in grief as worshipers pass by, hiding their brokenness behind a saccharine smile which temporarily masks their insecurities. It is Easter; trembling humans celebrate a mystery beyond their comprehension. I saw you there, sitting in grief. I have been in that chair, I have cried those tears; I have no illusion of safety, I know that I will return to that place. Seasons of grief change us; seasons of grief give us pause and offer us perspective. We are never promised a life without tears; we are simply encouraged to hold on, to cling to hope, believing that someday seasons of grief will step aside and joy, though altered or muted, will visit us again.
I saw you there, I wanted to stop the parade, but I couldn’t. May God give you peace, and may our community sit with you in your grief.
I am one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.